Nine months after spending his nights sleeping in a public toilet in Ennis, Polish man, Piotr Baram has declared that ‘life is good’ as he looks forward to a sober Christmas.
Today, the 36-year-old will join thousands of other shoppers on Ennis’s streets where he will search for a present for the four-year-old daughter of a local Polish family who have invited Piotr to join them for a traditional Polish Christmas dinner.
The meal, which usually includes carp instead of turkey, takes place on the evening of Christmas Eve and Piotr will then join his countrymen and women for a special midnight mass for the Polish community at Ennis’s Cathedral.
He said: “I am very much looking forward to having the Polish meal with the family. They are very kind to invite me. It will feel like home. I won’t be drinking and I will be clean shaven, showered, have clean clothes and buy a present for the daughter.”
Christmas Day will be taken up with a traditional turkey meal to be shared with 12 other men at the local St Vincent de Paul-run hostel for homeless men where he currently lives.
Eight months ago, Piotr didn’t know where his next meal would come from as he wasn’t entitled to social welfare, was homeless and depended on the generosity of priests and friends for survival.
He said: “It will be turkey every day for the rest of the week, but I don’t mind because you never forget what it is like to go hungry. I remember not eating for three days earlier this year — only drink. It is not good.”
Last year, Piotr shared Christmas with his friend, Josef Pavelka whose body was found in a laneway in Ennis last May after the Czech national suffered a heart attack brought on by years of alcohol abuse.
Piotr will visit Josef’s grave at Drumcliffe cemetery on Christmas Day. He said: “I miss him. I have friends this Christmas, but no one like Josef.”
After Josef’s death, Piotr was admitted to a treatment centre and remained sober for 105 days before lapsing. He has now stopped drinking spirits, but continues to drink beer and wine and vowed yesterday to have a sober Christmas.
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